In the last couple of months I personally witnessed lynch mobs chase foreigners who were quietly relaxing in The Golden Sorya Mall, Street 51, near The Heart of Darkness in Phnom Penh.
Late Wednesday night on 4th January 2012, I was sitting at an outside bar in the Golden Sorya Mall, in Phnom Penh when I heard the noise of plastic chairs being knocked over a few meters away, then a tall, black, African man took off down the street screaming "I didn't do anything to you!" The poor man ran for his life as seemingly the whole street of Khmers chased after him many with weapons of sticks and steel poles in their hands, some of them on motorbikes. Even the Hot Dog seller, opposite the Heart of Darkness, who usually shakes the hands of foreigners and calls them brother, dropped what he was doing immediately and leaped on to his motorbike, not wanting to miss the lynching. This nauseating bloodthirsty mob were gleefully intent on murder, and not gathered slowly but instantly, as if they did it regularly. I never found out if the man escaped or not.
As I walked back up the street I asked a Cambodian who I knew what had happened and the man replied that the African guy had struck a Khmer. A short distance away, where the incident had taken place, in a small Vietnamese restaurant, in the Golden Sorya Mall, opposite the New Castle Guest House, a Vietnamese girl called me in saying "Hey! I know you come in!" I thought this strange because I'd never seen her in my life before.
On around the date of November 30, about a month before, I witnessed a copycat incident, in exactly the same spot in the Golden Sorya Mall, on Street 51. On this occasion Security Guards, along with another street mob, were slowly pursuing a British man through the Mall. The guard in front, struck the foreigner so hard across the face that he fell to the ground, and then the guard started kicking him. Then the huge mob of Khmer and Vietnamese men followed them as the man tried to escape. I thought to myself "If that mob catch up with him they will certainly beat him to death". I saw the security guard returning wiping his hands with a sickening smug smile of pleasure on his face. There are no police on duty there late at night. I never found out his fate. This time I was told that the British man had been fighting with a friend.
But it was the following article in the Cambodia Daily, 27, December, 2011, that prompted me to write this post. In it I was horrified to read that a British man had died from head injuries the day before ON STREET 51 near the Golden Sorya Mall (this killing had taken place JUST 1 WEEK BEFORE the assault on the African man). According to the police on the scene the man had died after a fight with another foreigner. I would suggest that this is a complete fabrication. Firstly, because there are no police on duty late at night. And secondly, the police also stated that the man was "chased by local people on Street 51". These so called local people are terrifying lynch mobs of 50+, and it is almost certainly they who simple beat the man to death. The police version was a cover up.
Now remember what the African man had shouted as he tried to escape the lynch mob, repeatedly he shouted "I never did anything to you!" Two of the incidents I know took place in the same spot where the strange Vietnamese girl had summoned me in. I think that perhaps, the African man and the British man I both saw chased, had innocently sat down to chat with the pretty Vietnamese girl, then she feigned anger and pushed over a couple of plastic chairs and a table. This was a signal for the murderous local mob to step in. If this is the case then foreign men ARE BEING KILLED FOR SPORT - FOR FUN! Possibly there could have been motives for robbery, but if so, they would have been pick pocketing corpses in the aftermath. Don't forget, another man had been killed by a mob just one week before I witnessed the assault on the African.
I took these threats seriously not ever step near this area where it was once a regular haunt.
The Cambodians in this area have treated their foreign visitors in a disgraceful, appalling even evil way. They do not deserve our business and money. I hope also that tourists are suitably warned for their own safety.